I'm a speed, strength and conditioning coach. The number one thing my athletes want is to get faster. Often they need to improve their running form. When their technique is correct, they move more efficiently and ultimately increase their speed.
I usually start them off with plyometrics, track speed drills, resistance sprinting, and upper- and lower-body strengthening. But if you're training on your own, you don't have to get fancy. Focus on these simple mechanics to improve your running form and boost your speed.
- Keep your hands open.
- Relax your shoulders and face.
- Maintain a 90-degree bend at the elbow.
- Keep your back straight and don't round your shoulders.
- Keep your arms straight in front and straight in back from mouth to hip (zero side-to-side movement.)
- Maintain a drawn-in position with your core—i.e., pull your belly button to your spine but continue to breathe.
- Maintain a posterior pelvic tilt—i.e., squeeze your glutes to rotate your hips under your body.
- Maintain dorsiflexed toes (pointed up toward your shins) until your foot lands and extends through the ground.
- Run on the balls of your feet.
- Maintain a cycling motion with your legs.
A typical day of training could break down like this:
Quad Stretch with Inverted Toe Touch
Skip with a Clap
Skip and Scoop
Double Split Squat Jumps
Sets/Reps: 4x3 each leg
Single-Leg Tuck Jump
Sets/Reps: 3x3 each leg
Sets/Distance: 4x10 yards (focus on "clawing" through the ground on the balls of your feet)
Sets/Distance: 4x10 yards (focus on tucking your heels to your butt; if done correctly, your hip flexors will be burning)
Fast Leg (Triple Alternate Variation)
Sets/Distance: 4x20 yards (focus on accelerating your foot through the ground and "recovering" your heel to your butt as quickly as possible)
With either a parachute, lightweight sled, partner resistance or slightly inclined hill.
Sets/Reps/Distance: 2x3 for 15 yards
Tall and Fall Sprints
Directly after performing Resisted Sprints, perform two 20-Yard Tall and Fall Sprints.
Push-Up Bridge with Alternating Arm Extension
Stability Ball Prone Bridge Circles
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock